Friday, June 29, 2012

Different System, Same Problems

After my post Wednesday on the US Swim Trials, a few friends of mine issued their surprise on Facebook over the fact that my topic of choice was not the new College Football Playoffs.

Honestly? I hadn't even thought about it, which just goes to show its level of importance on my radar.

To be fair, it IS a somewhat important development in college sports. After all, the fall out from the conference re-alignments has settled somewhat, leaving a relative calm atmosphere before the 2012 season kicks off in August. I guess we needed something to fill the void.

The thing is....I've never been a proponent of a playoff system. I know the fans have been clamoring for it since...forever, it seems. "The BCS isn't fair!" has been the outcry across the country.

Well, now you've got what you wanted football fans. Let me point out a few factors that are going to make this just another pain in the ass system:

1. Mid-Major teams like Boise St. who had a hard enough time just getting into the hunt with the old BCS? Well, you'll still be watching the big boys play on from your tv. The new system favors those teams who will finish first or second atop the big power conferences.

2. Schools like Notre Dame and Big 10 affiliates, who "sometimes" get into bowl games based on name recognition rather than performance? Yeah, a playoff system kinda eliminates that. Oh wait, this one I don't mind so much.

3.Now your favorite team will be playing in a big bowl game around New Years, then possibly playing in another game in another venue a week or so later. Ummm, I don't know about anyone else, but I only scrape up enough funds to go to ONE bowl-like game a year. I can't imagine two. Plus, I imagine back-end details like ticketing will be a nightmare. We're talking a week or two to effectively sell to the hundreds of thousands of fans wanting to go to the game. Sure, playoffs aren't a new concept in D-I AA (I don't care what the new name is, it will always be D-I AA to me) or even pro football. The difference is teams aren't playing in a new location each time. There is always a home field advantage, making it slightly easier to manage.

Maybe I'm being too skeptical. When WVU hired Bob Huggins to take over as head basketball coach, I wasn't thrilled. In fact, that was perhaps my first sports blog post ever (RIP Myspace), where I enumerated Huggins's faults as I understood them. I fully admit I was wrong.

So hopefully I'll be wrong about this, but I kinda doubt it. And in a few years, when the masses are crying foul again and demanding a new system, I'll be interested to see the next foolish idea someone comes up with.


I know ya'll have opinions on this. Sound off to I crazy? Or do you agree that this new "playoff" system is just a piece of crap in sheep's clothing. Let me know!

Image provided by rantsports.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trials and Tribulations

Now that the "championship" period is over, the sports world becomes fairly silent until football starts up again. Unless you like baseball, which I do. Just not enough to keep me riveted to my tv screen.

So....thank GOD we're in an Olympic year. 

Come August, we'll be saying cheerio to the U.S. of A. and hullo to merry old England as the Summer Olympics kick off. But for now, we can get into the mood by watching the U.S. trials.

The trials are a good way to introduce us to potential new superstars, like freestyler Allison Schmitt or backstroker Missy Franklin. Schmitt won the 400 free last night over Chloe Sutton, while Franklin will take on veteran Natalie Coughlin in tonight's 100m backstroke final.

Allison Schmitt and Missy Franklin look to make their mark on the
swim world in London.

Meanwhile, Brendan Hansen took one major step forward in his much-publicized comeback by winning the 100m breast stroke. Hansen had pretty much checked out of the sport four years ago before competing in Beijing. Now? He is relishing going up against old rivals, like current Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Kosuke Kitajima. 

Perhaps the most intriguing match-up, however, is the battle between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Phelps' reign over teammate Lochte ended at last year's World Championships, and Lochte continued his rise to the top Monday night- winning the 400m IM. The pair will go head-to-head once more this evening, competing in the 200m free final. Ryan Lochte has already beaten Phelps in this event, as well.

I'm sorry, do we even care who wins as long as we get to see this a lot?

Are you all getting excited for the Olympics? Do you think Michael Phelps will be able to come close to his record setting eight gold medals in China, or will another US swimmer steal the spotlight? Let me know!

Images provided by theswimpictures, biographydy.snimg, and superiortelegram.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Little Birdie Told Me: The NBA Finals Edition

Last night, the Miami Heat beat the OKC Thunder to take the 2012 NBA title, giving Lebron James a long-awaited championship ring.

And honestly, I could care less.

But while the game didn't particularly interest me, the social media commentary had me enraptured. Ergo, I now present to you NBA Finals through the eyes of Twitter. Enjoy!


That's not fair....she uses pre-season games.

As long as she brought you a gift....

"Mami you know the drill, they will know what I got 'til they read the will I ain't try, I ain't trying to keep it real."

SO awkward

I think Mike Miller thinks the movie Magic Mike is about him

Did everyone's barbers get the ax in the settlement agreement?

True story, bro.

I'm going to miss that Chad Zumock...

And, because it's just so darn funny, I now present the Chris Bosh tribute section:


And with that, my friends, the door closes on another NBA season. I can't say I'm going to miss it, but I'm sure going to miss the Chris Bosh jokes. See ya on the flipside!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wide Open

The beginning of June is what I like to call the championship stretch in the sports world. The Belmont, the NHL finals, and the NBA finals all coincide, giving fans a plethora of options for viewing pleasure.

This past weekend, however, I was watching yet another championship: the US Open. Sure, golf isn't as fast-paced as a hockey or basketball game, or shoot...even a thoroughbred race, but it requires a logical mind that appeals to the accountant in me.

Also? You don't have to run. That appeals to the lazy in me.

This year, several storylines seemed to emerge from the Open. Would Tiger Woods surmount a comeback to the top of the golf world? Would young buck and amateur golfer Beau Hossler take the competition? Would this be the year that Lee Westwood finally earned a major title, or would an old hat like Jim Furyk win another?

Turns out, the answer to all of those was no. Tiger, who started out so strong at the beginning of the week, had a disappointing third and fourth rounds, finishing at 7+. Also finishing at 7+ was Jordan Speith, who beat out Hossler as low amateur. For his part, Hossler ended the final round with a double bogey.

And though they came close, both Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk walked away sans title. Westwood's run ended with a disastrous drive on the 5th tee, when he treed his shot. Furyk, on the other hand, was a part of the final pair but couldn't put together a sufficient enough round to close on the eventual winner...

Webb Simpson, who was sitting in the clubhouse as the 2012 Open came to an end. Webb finished up 1+ and managed to underdog out the competition. Only fitting, considering The Olympic Club is known as the "Graveyard of Champions".

So while it may not have been the most exciting tournament, or the most memorable, for 25 year old Simpson it will be his storyline that shined brightest during this June championship season.

Image provided by huffingtonpost.

Friday, June 15, 2012

They've Got Good Genes

Happy Father's Day everyone! It's sort of fitting that I write a sports blog on this occasion, because nothing goes more hand in hand than fathers and sports. Even my dad and I have had our moments, though that one failed attempt to teach me how to field balls might not exactly count.

But some fathers, and their children, have taken the connection to a whole 'nother level. These families  were blessed with some freaky super power gene that propelled them into successful careers playing sports professionally. Ergo, I thought I'd pay tribute to those fathers and sons now.


Archie/Peyton/Eli Manning

Ahh, the Mannings. You knew I had to include these three considering how many times I've written about Peyton and Eli (see here and here and here). But if it wasn't for Archie, who played 13 seasons in the NFL with the Saints, Vikings and Oilers, the Manning boys probably wouldn't be what they are today.

Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr.

The pro sports gene seems to be especially strong in the world of baseball, and the Griffeys are full proof of that. Ken Sr. played with the Reds during the "Big Red Machine" heyday, while Griffey, Jr. is considered to be one of the best home run hitters and defensive players in MLB history. The Griffeys even manged to overlap careers- playing their first game together with the Seattle Mariners in 1990 and hit back-to-back home runs.

Moises and Felipe Alou

The Alous...pretty much the baseball equivalent of a royal family. Felipe, along with brothers Matty and Jesus, became the first all-brother outfield for the San Francisco Giants in 1963. Then came Moises, who followed in his father's footsteps as an outfielder. Moises had the distinction of being managed by his father with both the Montreal Expos and the Giants. With the exception of Jesus, all Alous have been named to the All-Star game at least twice.

Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

When you have a roller coaster named after you, as the late Dale Earnhardt does, you know you were something special. That's probably why son Jr., who is a superstar in his own right, is still one of NASCAR's most popular drivers.

Gordie and Mark Howe

If your nickname is "Mr. Hockey", and you have a son who is also pretty awesome, you can't be left off this list. Gordie Howe, who played in the NHL for five different decades and won 4 Stanley Cups and 6 Hart Trophies, is certainly one of the sports most prolific and outstanding players of all time. Son Mark wasn't a slouch either, playing for both a Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings team that went to a Stanley Cup Finals. Besides Bobby and Brett Hull, the Howes are the only other father/son combo to have their jerseys retired by the NHL. 

Cecil and Prince Fielder

Confession time? I ADORE Cecil and Prince Fielder. I mean, look at the picture...don't they look like an awesome pair of guys to hang around with? It's like if Shaq and son played baseball (wait...did/do they?).  Despite the last name, both Fielders are some of the most notable power hitters in MLB history and the only father-son duo to hit for 50+ home runs in a single season. 

Bill and Luke Walton

Who here that follows basketball doesn't know who Bill Walton is??? That's what I thought. Bill, who played for John Wooden's powerhouse UCLA teams in the 70s, won three straight player of the year titles and two national championships. Meanwhile, in the NBA, he earned another MVP title and won 2 NBA championships. Son Luke, now a forward for the Cleveland Cavs, proves that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, having already won 2 NBA titles of his own with the LA Lakers in 2009-10.

So, who are some of your fav father/son combos that I left out? The Ripkens? The Hulls? The Bonds? Let me know!

Images provided by nydailynews.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vacation Style

Pinterest Set 3

Crop tank, £12
Wide leg pants, $160
Zara shoes, $50
Handbag, $650
AK Anne Klein chain link necklace, $85
Marni bracelet, $239

Guys, it's that time of year....vacation time. The best of us have a a hard time figuring out the perfect outfit to pack for our tropical get aways. In my opinion, you simply cannot go wrong with wide leg trousers, a printed tank, and accessories in summery shades of coral and gold.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Out of Sync

I'll Have Another....didn't. 

Guys, I have a confession: I think I jinxed the Belmont.

I know, I suck.

Here's how it went down....


May/June 2004

I had just finished up performing in the show Grease at a local theater. A horse by the name of Smarty Jones was taking the country by storm. After a remarkable win in the Kentucky Derby, Smarty Jones ran away from the field in a Preakness that wasn't even close. I sat at the theater and watched the race, mesmerized by the ability of this amazing thoroughbred.

Three weeks later, I headed up to upstate NY to see my cousin Chris get married to his fiancee Julie. The date of the wedding- June 5th- happened to coincide with the Belmont, the last stage of the Triple Crown.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO screamed my inner monologue. I'm going to miss this race???? What if Smarty Jones wins? So, as a compromise, my grandparents popped in a tape (ahh, the good ol days of VHS) and recorded it for me.

By the time we got home from the wedding, everyone knew the outcome but me. I had sworn all to a vow of silence, as I was determined to see the race play out for itself. Appeasing me, the family sat down and respectfully watched what they already knew....

....that Smarty Jones had lost a heartbreaker at the wire. Even re-watching it now, it pains me to see him let victory slip through his hooves. And so, another year passed by without a Triple Crown winner.

Eight years later...May/June 2012

In his book 11/22/63, Stephen King talks about how the past harmonizes with itself. And up until Friday morning, I believed this to be true. Why, you ask? Because it seemed like my past was about to go all `NSYNC on my present.

For the first time since 2004, I had decided to do a musical theater production. After catching the Kentucky Derby on tv, I tuned in to the Preakness in the parking lot of the Apollo before my Saturday night performacne. In what was a nail biter, I'll Have Another pulled away for his second victory and became the first horse since 2008's Big Brown to have a shot at the Triple Crown title.

Ok, you might be saying right about now. So what?

Well, in even MORE of a coincidence, this past weekend I once again headed to upstate New York to see my cousin Sara (the aforementioned Chris's younger sister) get married. On the day of the Belmont.

If you're not following me, I'll recap: musical production, Preakness at the theater, Triple Crown hopeful, upstate New York, and family wedding.

Freaky, right?

So yeah...I was definitely feeling the harmonization. I began to share my story with everyone: my friends, my parents, random people on the street...

And then Friday happened.

Before leaving work at lunch time to drive to New York, I quickly checked my facebook. To my horror, one of my friends had posted a link to the news announcement that I'll Have Another had scratched for Saturday's race.


"How could this be???" shouted my inner monologue. "Doesn't this horse know about the harmonization????"

Just like that, the streak came to an abrupt and undramatic end. No second chance for history to produce the Triple Crown winner that had been denied to Smarty Jones eight years prior. Was this my fault? Did my recognization and consequential sharing of the repeating strands of time somehow alter what was meant to be?

If it did, I apologize. To I'll Have Another. To jockey Mario Gutierrez. To owner J. Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill. To the bettors. To racing fans. To my family, who was looking forward to sneaking out of the wedding to watch the race on a smuggled iPad.

But...the good news is that everyone in that family branch is now married, and I have no immediate plans to return to the theater. And if, by some chance, the stars are aligning again, I solemnly swear to keep my mouth shut.

Image provided by bleacherreport.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fixing to Get My Stitch On

Color Block tank- c/o Stitch Fix / maxi skirt- Old Navy (loving this one) / belt- NY& Co /  spike necklace- Charlotte Russe (similar) / bangles- Forever21 / Biker Jacket- Charlotte Russe (similar) /lace up booties- Payless /Bag- H&M/ Sunnies- NY &Co.

I first heard about this awesome site Stitchfix when Lacey of A Lacey Perspective blogged about it a couple months ago. A company that sends you a box of fashion goodies whenever you want, for a mere $20? Ummmm, yes please!!!! I've gotten two boxes so far, and I've come away with two dresses, a necklace, and this adorbs top I'm wearing above. Check out some more of the Stitch Fix awesomeness below.

Images provided by the Sports-O-Nista and Rob Shaw.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A National Affair

They say variety is the spice of life.

Ok, so I'm not quite sure who "they" are, but today I'm mixing it up with what would typically be a Friday Fun post. So...fingers crossed about that whole variety/spice thing.


This past weekend, my girls Leah and Jenny came to visit from Morgantown and take in the Nationals/Braves game in Washington, DC on Saturday.

All three of us are huge baseball fans, but Leah is a die-hard Braves girl. More specifically, she's a die-hard Chipper Jones girl. As you know, this is Chipper's last year, and when his farewell tour was making its way through the nation's capital, she asked if we maybe would like to go see a game. And maybe see Dierks Bentley afterward as part of the summer concert series.


The best laid plans, however, tend to go awry. And on Friday, the to speak.. hit the fan.

First, we found out that Chipper, who is currently on the DL, wasn't making the trip to DC. Then, Dierks Bentley had to pull out of his concert appearance due to "family issues". Luckily, Big and Rich apparently had nothing else to do, so they stepped in at the last moment. But still...just wasn't going to be the same.

Anyway, the show must go on. I had never been to Nationals Park before, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Being a Os and Pirates fan, I'm used to a gorgeous ball park setting (cause let's face it, Camden Yards and PNC Park are top notch). Here's what I learned from our adventure:

1) Nats Park is beautiful. Small, but beautiful. The minor league ball park feeling provides a really intimate setting to watch major league ball.

2) The staff is incredibly friendly. I don't know if it's because the Nats are relatively young in terms of ball clubs, and they're still trying to find a niche, but everyone there...from the ticket takers to the concession stand workers...were absolutely outstanding.

3) If you like creepy, deformed looking forefathers, this is right up your alley. The Nationals are famous for their racing "presidents", and statues of the Mt. Rushmore face bearers are placed strategically throughout the stadium.

Doesn't GW look jaunty? Especially with my finger in his face?

4) Every ball park NEEDS an outdoor lounge. We determined  this as we climbed to the second level and discovered a grassy knoll complete with comfy couches, chairs, and dj. As we enjoyed our lunches, Leah put it best, "I mean, I've got my beer, my hot dog, and a dj. What else do you need?" Indeed.

5) This might be the Nationals year to shine. With superstar young talent like pitcher Stephen Strasburg and 2011 first round draft pick Bryce Harper, the nation's team has given its fans something to cheer about.

6) Regardless of what the ball park looks like, or who is playing, nothing beats going to a game with your besties. Especially when you don't have pee emergencies and aren't getting yelled at by strangers.

And for the record, Big and Rich was a more than acceptable replacement for Dierks Bentley. Especially since I got to high five Big Kenny.

See how excited he was to high five me? He's assuming the victory arm pose.

Images provided by the Sports-o-nista.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weekend Update with the Sportsonista

Disclaimer: Do not expect this to be nearly as funny as the Weekend Update on SNL. Or maybe expect it to be more funny. Either one will work, but just to be safe, let's go with option a. 

So, my co-worker Kristin at What She Said has been doing a Friday Tapas feature for the last few months. Basically, it's just snippets and recaps from the week that don't require much thought or effort.

(And yes, I realize that I've been not putting much thought or effort into a lot of posts lately, but I'm a little lazy. Don't judge me).

Anyhoo, I'm not planning on stealing this idea or making it a regular occurrence, but for this Friday I thought I'd give it a whirl. How it differs from the post I did two weeks ago, I don't know exactly. It just does, mmkay?


Yesterday, NHL great Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the Detroit Red Wings after 20 seasons of pro play. Lidstrom finished his career with seven Norris Trophies, four Stanley Cups, and one Conn Smythe, begging the obvious question: What the Hell was Nicklas doing with his time these past 20 years?

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock knows the massive rivalry between Big 10 (11? 12? 13?) foes Michigan and Ohio State. This rivalry was taken to a new level when Michigan recruit Logan Tuley-Tillman posted a picture of an aflame Ohio State recruiting letter to his twitter account. Despite backlash, Tuley-Tillman was unapologetic, stating that it was more of a personal catharsis than a deliberate slight. When asked about the numerous obscene threats he's received, the young recruit simply said, "God Bless Them".  Okay, then.

I'd hate to see what he does to junk mail.

Last week on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, American track star and Olympic hopeful "Lolo" Jones announced that she is still a virgin at the ripe old age of 29. The admission caused a massive shock wave through the media, spawning articles in People, the LA Times, and The Washington Post. Who here besides me thinks that this girl is going to set a record for the amount of people and different languages she will surely be propositioned with upon arrival in London?

Finally, the New Orleans Hornets won the top draft pick in the NBA lottery on Wednesday evening, despite the poor Charlotte Bobcats having a dismal 7 and gazillion record this season. The Hornets are rumored to be aiming toward UK's Anthony Davis, much to the delight of the young NCAA champion and 2011-12 Player of the Year. Davis will surely be able to buy a fancy car/house/clothes with his new found millions, but, as one of my friends on facebook put it, he should be looking most forward to this:

I mean, good god, man! Go to the threading kiosk at the mall. It will be the best $10 you've ever spent, I swears.



Around the net......

Over at Grantland, Bill Simmons breaks down his take on the San Antonio Spurs, who have yet to lose a playoff game this season. That? Just as unnatural as the face-eating man down in Florida, amiright?

Brooks of Sports By Brooks reminds us all that, just in case we've forgotten, Craig James is still an asshole. 

And for you non-sports fans out there reading my blog....

Congrats to Lacey of A Lacey Perspective, who got engaged this week to her long-time beau. Leave it to a fashion blogger to make an engagement look uber stylish.

Meanwhile, Kendall at This Is Not That Blog warns us all of that which is definitely NOT stylish....the impending doom of butt sweat and lava-hot summers.

So, until next week ya'll........................

Images provided by espn (c/o twitter) and newschannel12live.

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